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16 December 2011

International workshop focuses on controlled delivery strategy against forest and wildlife crime

SHANGHAI, China ― The first international workshop on Establishing a Network of Controlled Delivery Units for Forest and Wildlife Law Enforcement brought together 50 representatives from customs, police, prosecution and specialized agencies from 19 countries across Africa and Asia.

With the meeting organized by the World Customs Organization (WCO) under the auspices of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) supported by INTERPOL, participants at the three-day workshop (7-9 December) agreed a number of recommendations to address the legislative, capacity and operational aspects of controlled deliveries.

The interception of smuggled commodities, including wildlife and wildlife products, prevents illegal goods from reaching consumers or black markets. However, interception in many cases leads only to the arrest of 'mules' or couriers and seldom to the arrest and conviction of those criminals who direct and organize the smuggling.

By allowing the contraband to continue its journey in a 'controlled' manner, authorities can gather evidence at each point in the chain and, eventually, identify, arrest, and prosecute those who are involved in the shipment.

Engaging in such 'controlled deliveries' enables enforcement agencies to monitor the supply and distribution to manufacturers and retailers or individual consumers. Investigations at these final stages will often uncover evidence to identify actors at all stages of the poaching and trafficking operation.
 “INTERPOL strongly supports this collaborative initiative by the ICCWC to bring together enforcement agencies to combat transnational wildlife crime. INTERPOL stands by to assist countries and partner organizations through its network of 190 member countries and I-24/7 police communications systems,” said INTERPOL’s Acting Executive Director for Police Services, Bernd Rossbach.

 Alongside other ICCWC members at the workshop― the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the WCO and the World Bank ― Justin Gosling from INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Programme provided specialist training input and reaffirmed the importance of the organizations cooperating under the framework of the newly-formed ICCWC.

The countries represented at the conference included Cameroon, China and its Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, Tanzania and Vietnam.